The Official Texas Boating License
Official Texas Boating Course, Test and License is required for all boaters born after September 1, 1993. Designed for Texas Boaters.
Need Your Texas Boating Card?
BOATsmart! is the easiest and fastest way to get your Texas Parks and Wildlife Approved Boater Education Card (or boating license). We include everything you need.
1. Study Online
Study up with the Official Texas Boating Safety Course. Animated and narrated lessons put you in the captain’s seat. Anywhere, on any device and perfect for all ages.
2. Ace the test
It’s easy. Our Texas Parks and Wildlife Approved multiple-choice test is open book with unlimited free retries. Basically, you’re guaranteed to pass and it’s good for life!
3. Get on the water
Once you pass the test, you can print your temporary card and use it immediately. Visit the TPWD website and click “Am I Certified?” to receive your official card within 45 days.
The Best Boating Course. Period.
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|Get Licensed in 3 Hours (Average)|
|Animated, Narrated & Perfect for All Ages|
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|Unlimited Test Retries|
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Do you need a license to drive a boat in Texas?
In Texas, all boaters born after September 1, 1993 must have a Texas Boater Education Certificate to operate motorized watercraft. This is a requirement for watercraft over 15HP or wind-blown vessels over 14ft. You must be 13 years of age or older to register for the course.
Animated, narrated & perfect for all ages.
make it easy
Our animated, narrated and interactive lessons guide your learning experience and help you pass.
Everything you need
The BOATsmart!® Course includes all the knowledge you need to pass the test and boat with confidence.
Study at your
BOATsmart!® automatically tracks your progress on any device. Take it anywhere, anytime.
Designed for all ages
& skill levels
Designed by boaters and subject matter experts just for you.
Made for boaters,
Texas Boating Knowledge Base
Boating in Texas
Trusted and recognized from coast to coast
With over 190 lakes to enjoy Texas offers a plethora of water fun for its visitors. Here are just a few of the best lakes in Texas.
Texas Boater Card Frequently Asked Questions
Do Texas boaters need a boating license?
All boaters born after August 31, 1993, must complete a Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) approved course and be certified with the TPWD to operate:
Any vessel over 15 horse power.
Any windblown vessel over 14 feet.
All personal watercraft
Exemptions for those born after August 31, 1993 include:
Operating your motorboat on private waters
Boaters who are accompanied by a person 18 or older who is exempt from mandatory education
Boaters who are residents of another state that have passed a TPWD-approved course in another state
WILL MY BOATSMART! CARD EVER EXPIRE?
Your BOATsmart! Card will never expire. But stay in touch after you pass the test – BOATsmart! offers free, online refresher lessons that will help you keep your boating skill and knowledge up to date as years pass and boating regulations change.
WHO IS REQUIRED TO WEAR LIFE JACKETS WHEN BOATING IN Texas?
All boats, including human-powered craft, must be equipped with one Type I, II, III or V wearable life jacket for each person on board. A Type V life jacket is only acceptable if it is used in accordance with the specific label instructions.
In Texas, passengers 13 years of age and under are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved, Type I, II, III or V life jacket while on board any boat that is under 26 feet in length while the boat is underway (unless the boat is moored, anchored or aground). This law also applies to human-powered craft.
Any person riding on or being towed by a PWC is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved Type I, II or III or V life jacket at all times.
DO I NEED TO REGISTER MY BOAT IN TEXAS?
Boat registration requirements vary from state to state. To legally operate a boat in the state of Texas, you must obtain a Texas Certificate of Number and validation decals.
Once a boat has been registered, the owner will be provided with a Texas Certificate of Number and validation decals. The Certificate of Number must be carried on board the boat at all times during operation and must be available for inspection by law enforcement.
Certificates of Number are valid for 2 years. Boat owners will receive a renewal notice 3 months prior to the expiration of the certificate.
WHAT ARE THE LAWS FOR BOATING WITH ALCOHOL IN TEXAS?
Texas law prohibits anyone from operating a vessel while intoxicated (BWI). This includes the operation of any boat, sailboat, personal watercraft, water skis, sailboard, or similar device. Operators who have a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater are considered intoxicated.
WILL MY Texas BOATING EDUCATION I.D. CARD BE VALID FOR BOATING IN OTHER STATES?
Yes! The BOATsmart! Card is accepted in 40 other states, which extend reciprocity to certified boaters. This law applies to operators of motorized boats (who have taken and passed a NASBLA approved boating safety course), but does not apply in all states to operators of personal watercraft (PWCs). Always check the boating laws in the state you plan to visit before operating a boat or PWC there.
WHAT HAPPENS IF IT TAKES ME LONGER THAN 3-HOURS TO COMPLETE THE BOATSMART! COURSE? WILL I NEED TO START OVER?
The 3-hour timer is only a minimum requirement. You’re free to spend as much time as you need in the BOATsmart! Knowledge Base before taking the Final Test.
WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR RENTING A PERSONAL WATERCRAFT (PWC) IN TEXAS? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE A BOATING SAFETY COURSE?
An adult (18 years of age or older) must be present on the watercraft while anyone 12 years of age or younger is operating a PWC. For PWC operators aged 13-17, an adult (18 years of age or older) must be present on the watercraft, unless the operator has successfully completed a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Approved Safe Boating Course. Those who have completed the course must have a picture identification card and a boater certification card issued by the department in their possession.
WHAT ARE THE TEXAS PENALTIES AND FINES FOR BOATERS WHO ARE CONVICTED OF OPERATING A BOAT WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS?
The following penalties will apply:
First conviction carries a fine of up to $2,000 and/or jail time of up to 180 days.
Second conviction carries a fine of up to $4,000 and/or jail time of up to one year.
Third conviction carries a fine of up to $10,000 and/or jail time of 2-10 years.
By operating a vessel on Texas waters, you have consented to be tested for alcohol and/or drugs if arrested by a law enforcement official. Refusal to submit to testing may result in the suspension of your vehicle driver’s license for at least 180 days.
WHO ENFORCES THE LAWS ON TEXAS WATERWAYS?
Texas Parks and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division.
Marine Safety Enforcement Officers.
The Coast Guard (on federal waters).
Law enforcement in the state of Texas have the authority to stop and board any boat to ensure they are in compliance with state and federal laws.
A person convicted of failing to comply with law enforcement, or who violates laws within the Texas Water Safety Act will be guilty of a Texas Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor.
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